Cisco End-of-Life Policy Rankles VARs

Cisco Systems Inc. told VARs in June it would end of life a lengthy list of gear as of Aug. 1. While spun as an opportunity for partners to sell more hardware, customers and VARs told the plan is forcing upgrades unnecessarily.

The 21-page list includes routers, VPN software, firewalls and more. Support is provided for up to five years on hardware and OS and three years of application software. Parts are available for five years.

Still, users can use the SmartNet box for the EOL gear, so it doesn’t make sense to stick with the old stuff even though it works just fine. But the new gear costs significantly more and, in some cases, is not a modular upsell, but requires a forklift upgrade. As a result, VARs and customers are reporting that HP and Juniper Networks more closely as alternatives with cheaper prices and more flexible policies.

Cisco said it’s been consistent about its EOL strategy since 2002. And some VARs say those that are upset haven’t been paying attention to the roadmaps.

Even still, VARs fear that customers may be turning to the gray market for older Cisco gear, parts and software.

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